Sampling and identifying the centipede fauna of Israel

Centipedes (Chilopoda) are common and familiar arthropods in all terrestrial eco-systems in Israel. Nonetheless, there has been very little work to date on mapping Israel's centipede fauna. There are approximately 30 documented species, though many of them are known from only one or two specimens, so that nothing can be said about their distribution. Beyond the systematic topic, centipedes represent a number of interesting evolutionary questions regarding inter and intraspecific variation in segment number, and variations in color pattern of some of the most common species.

In this project we are actively collecting centipedes across the entire country, in a range of habitats, with an emphasis on areas for which there is no information. All centipedes collected will be sent to specialists abroad for identification. For the Geophilomorpha we are counting the number of leg-bearing segments in each individual in order to map the intraspecific variation in segment number along geographic and climatic gradients. In the Scolopendromorpha and Scutigeromorpha we are documenting the color pattern of each individual, in order to ascertain if there is any regularity in the color patterns, and in order to try and find a possible cause for the differences.